Konstantin Egorovich Makovsky (Russian, 1839-1915) The appeal of Minin to the people of Nizhni Novgorod; a study
Lot 17
Konstantin Egorovich Makovsky (Russian, 1839-1915) 'The appeal of Minin to the people of Nizhni Novgorod'; a study
Sold for £264,000 (US$ 431,080) inc. premium

Lot Details
Konstantin Egorovich Makovsky (Russian, 1839-1915)
'The appeal of Minin to the people of Nizhni Novgorod'; a study
signed in Latin (lower right); stretcher inscribed in a later hand in Cyrillic 'This is an original work by K. Makovsky/ "Minin"/ B. Chekato'
oil on canvas
59 x 50cm (23 1/4 x 19 11/16in).

Footnotes

  • PROVENANCE:
    The renowned art connoisseur Bartolomeo Chekato (according to inscription on stretcher)
    Private collection, Europe

    EXHIBITED:
    Paris, Grand Palais, Bonhams, La Vente du Grand Palais, February 2011

    At the beginning of the 1890s, Konstantin Makovsky started working on a new monumental and historic painting entitled 'Minin appealing to people of Nizhnii Novgorod', 1894-1896. Koz'ma Minin was one of the organisers and leaders of the Zemsky militia, established in Nizhni Novgorod in 1611-1612 to fight against the Polish and Swedish intervention. The militia was to be led by Dmitrii Pozharsky, who at that time was recovering from his wounds in his Nizhnii Novgorod residence. The organisation of and provision for the militia required huge funds and, on Minin's advice, it was decided that one third of all the belongings of the local people were to be used to equip the militia. Not long after this, other cities in Russia followed the example of Nizhnii Novgorod and, as a result, Moscow expelled the Polish army in the Autumn of 1612.

    Makovsky's painting depicts the people of Nizhnii Novgorod patriotically inspired and gathered together at the square near the Ivanovsky Descent in Nizhnii Novgorod. The men are ready to fight the enemy, while the women are divesting themselves of their jewellery, placing their belongings into the kitty in support of the army.

    Makovsky visited Nizhnii Novgorod several times to gather materials and to do studies for the large painting. He was in close contact with the regional research archival commission which helped him to gather historical and archival materials. The work itself, however, was painted in France in his large workshop in Saint Germaine, near Paris. The monumental size of the work prevented it from fulfilling Makovsky's dream of participating in the 1898 exhibition at the Museum of Emperor Alexander III (today the State Russian Museum), as there was no suitable space for it. The work was purchased by the Emperor for 10,000 roubles and donated to the city of Nizhni Novgorod, where it hung in the Duma city hall. Makovsky painted a second, smaller variant of the work, which went to the Russian Museum after his death. This large, densely populated painting required detailed work on the composition and distinctive images and types. Makovsky completed many studies and sketches for the painting, some of them exhibited at his personal exhibition in St. Petersburg in 1897 and at the posthumous exhibition in 1915 at the Society for Encouragement of Fine Arts as part of the exhibition of the Petrograd Society of Artists.

    The present lot differs from both the Russian Museum version and the Nizhni Novgorod version. The inscription on the stretcher 'An original work by Professor K. Makovsky, Minin, from B. Chekato' indicates that the work was purchased from the renowned St. Petersburg antique shop which belonged to B. Chekato.

    Dr. Elena Nesterova, Professor of History of Art, State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg
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